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Ukraine Destroys Russian Mine-Clearing Vehicle, Says Dozen Taken Out in War

Ukrainian Soliders

The Ukrainian military says it destroyed another Russian UR-77 Meteorit, a mine clearance vehicle the Kremlin has allegedly used as an offensive weapon to launch missiles.

Operational Command South of Ukraine, a military formation covering much of the country’s southern region, said in a Facebook post on Friday that Ukrainian forces had wiped out the Soviet-era deminer in the forest outside the northeastern region of Kharkov. The post follows a string of recent rambunctious announcements by Ukrainian officials touting the destruction of Russian military equipment.

“It is worth noting that this is far from the first such trophy in the name of our fighters,” the command said in the post. “More than a dozen similar enemy vehicles have been captured and destroyed since the beginning of the large-scale invasion by the Russian occupation forces.”

Developed in the 1970s, the UR-77 Meteorit aims to sustain troop progress by clearing minefields, according to WeaponSystems.net. The armored vehicle uses a roof-mounted launcher to fire two line charges per rocket across minefields with the intent of detonating and clearing mines. The UR-77 Meteorit clears a 20-foot wide path for advancing troops that can be as long as 300 feet.

The Ukrainian military says it destroyed a UR-77 Meteorit, a Russian mine clearance vehicle that could also be used for offensive strikes. Above, Ukrainian soldiers clean a tank gun near Kharkiv on July 23, 2022, amid the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
SERGEY BOBOK/Getty Images

The UR-77 Meteorit had been used by the Russian military in its first and second wars against a Chechen insurgency and by the Kremlin-affiliated Syrian government against rebels. The Kremlin also reportedly provided it to separatists fighting Ukraine after Russia’s annexation of Crimea in 2014.

The vehicle is manned by a driver and a commander operator and can successfully complete a mine clearance in minutes, while taking just 30 to 40 minutes to recharge, according to a Russian military website.

“However, in a real combat situation, it is rarely used in this way,” Ukraine’s Operational Command South said in the post. “A charge explosion does not give a 100% guarantee that the area has been demined. In particular, mines with double-propulsion detonators or anti-personnel mines with tension action can remain intact. Also, magnetic and infrared mine detonators do not respond to the blast wave.”

The command continued to say that Russian forces have used the UR-77 Meteorit against civilian infrastructure in Ukrainian cities. Reports have also emerged that the vehicle has been used offensively by Russia in its invasion of Ukraine. These reports have not been independently verified by News week.

Earlier in the conflict, Russian forces used the UR-77 Meteorit to attack Ukrainian soldiers holed up on a university campus in the eastern city of Rubizhne, according to military news website Sofrep.

Despite its unassuming appearance, the UR-77 Meteorit launched 1,600 pounds of PVV-7 plastic explosives, followed by a 90-meter-long explosive charge that detonated simultaneously, according to the website.

News week contacted the Russian government for comment.